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My, How Things Have Changed!

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Do you know what the machine pictured below is and what it was used for?

Mystery machine. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Until the early 1990s (in some schools and Extension offices even later), the mimeograph machine was the tool of choice to make copies of materials for classes and newsletters. An invention of Thomas A. Edison, the mimeograph machine made printed copies using typed stencil. My, how things have changed over the past 25 years!

Both the tools we use to create our learning resources and the way we carry out our work has changed.

During the week of June 22, I presented as part of two different webinars — the FD Update on our center’s new leadership model on Monday and on building resilience during time of change for the Military Family Life Learning Network on Wednesday. The latter webinar was designed for military family service providers across the county and used social media to engage participants.

I also participated in three additional webinars and at least six meetings in which we did not meet face-to-face but used the WebEx web conferencing system, phone conferencing, and Google Hangouts. Lastly, I reviewed documents using Google Drive rather than having them mailed to me. It’s hard to believe that we were able to accomplish anything before the many tools we have today were available.

Although I miss the sharp, clean alcohol smell and the coolness of the paper when the handouts came off the mimeograph, the tools we have today are far superior in their quality and flexibility to adapt to changing needs. Just as I had to let go of using the mimeograph to make handouts, I, like you, have had to venture into new ways of learning, communicating, and teaching in order to keep pace with ever-changing family issues and new learning technologies.

Today’s edition of Family Matters highlights resources for helping individuals and families cope with change. The resources featured may address issues such as the human and financial consequences of the avian influenza outbreak or the needs of military family service providers, but the concepts and themes of these resources apply to any kind of transition or change that the individuals or families you work with are going through. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these resources. In addition, please keep us posted on important events and trends happening in your region of the state through the FD listserv. We want to be responsive to changing needs and be certain that you have tools to meet these needs!
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